Focuses in Discipleship
for The Discipler
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." - Mathew 28:19-20
How Do I Sow into the Lives of the Ones I Disciple?
When I get the opportunity and privilege to begin discipling another person, whether a Christian or a new believer, I want to sow into their lives by being...
- STRATEGIC in what I choose to teach, model, and focus on, at any particular time - There's so many things about following Jesus that I could choose to do and focus on with this disciple at any given time but I must remember that I am lay a solid foundation of faith. This is the ground work for a healthy and established relationship with God to thrive and to lead to transformation, over time. By this, I mean yes, for example, you could talk about spiritual warfare but why would you when the disciple is just barely beginning to learn about prayer? Pacing here is required as well. You can't throw too much to work on or think about because little will stay.
- HONORING to what God is doing in that person - The Holy Spirit is already at work in that person and is already speaking to them, giving them specific interests to pursue for spiritual growth, and causing questions to arise about what this walk with Jesus will look like in the context of his/her particular life. I am therefore listening to the actual person I get to disciple, and getting them to communicate what they are sensing from God. When discipleship connects to the disciple's personal spiritual growth pursuits and interests (example: "I am interested in learning more about prayer"), and to what God may be speaking to them, they will be more willing to embrace and put into practice what they are learning.
- OBEDIENT to God's Leading - I am listening to what God may be directing me to do, share, model, etc. for that disciple. The truth is there are things or areas of their life for which the disciple has no idea, experience, or insight. They may be blind to certain things, or be Biblically off in some approach to life. I point these out as spiritual red flags go up. Finally, part of being obedient to God is to be regularly in prayer for this disciple, that the life of Christ may be formed in them.
What are Some Important Practices for Me, the Discipler?
- PRAY FOR THEM REGULARLY - that the life of Christ may be formed in them. Pray for God's protection. Pray the Apostolic Prayers over them & the prayers for the inner man (F-E-L-L-O-W-S-H-I-P).
- MODEL WHAT YOU TEACH - Do not depend on teaching alone to establish godly and spiritual habits in them. Walk them through it by actually first modeling how you would do it and then having them do it with you there.
- REVISIT, REFERENCE & USE THESE OVER TIME - When you have taught concepts, modeled and practiced tools, habits, etc., make sure you revisit these again in ensuing days, and begin using them from then on in your discipleship meetings. Make reference to them regularly. Do not make the mistake to assume that from one encounter, those habits, tools, or understandings have been deeply rooted and put to good use. If, for example, you teach them to pray, show them how you pray for a particular situation. Then have them put it to use themselves.
- HELP THEM SEE THE BIG PICTURE - For everything you cover, help the disciple see the value of it and how it will impact their lives and the lives of the ones they will disciple. Show them how it connects to other truths or practices already covered
- INTEGRATE & MAKE CONNECTIONS (rather than compartmentalize) - For example, when I teach and model the Discovery Bible Study, I make sure the disciples understands that DBS is excellent tool for learning to hear God (What is God speaking to me through this passage?). Or I can emphasize how memorizing Scripture is so helpful to hearing God for self and for prophesying over people, that God can used these readily available verses to speak in the moment.
- SHARE YOUR OWN PAST STRUGGLES AND REVELATIONS - Help your disciple(s) see the pitfalls in the potential areas they might encounter, such as the ones you encountered in the past. Help them see how God revealed truth to help you overcome and grow from these. Help them develop a paradigm for failure, struggles, temptations, etc. Help them value transparency in their walk with God, that it is not about perfection but about honesty and dependency on God.
- SHARE WHAT YOU ARE PRESENTLY DOING TO GROW - Model a dynamic relationship with God that continues to this day. Are you reading a certain book on ministry? Is there a unique way you are presently interacting with God's Word? What has God been speaking to you or dealing with you, presently? Do you gather with other believers in a discipling or mentoring relationship? Are there people in your life that are holding you accountable in your walk with God? What is a temptation that you are taking intentional steps to overcome?
What Are Some of the More Important Foundational Discipleship Focuses?
- Pray to God and Intercede for Others
- Read, Study, Memorize and Meditate on the Word of God
- Worship God in Spirit and in Truth
- Have Regular Quiet Times with God (Daily Devotionals) to deepen relationship, grow in knowledge of His ways, refresh/renew one's soul/spirit, align our mind, will and emotions with His, etc...
- Hear from God (Recognize His Voice) and Do His Will
- Share their Faith through a Testimony and a Presentation of the Gospel
- Value and Engage in Christian Fellowship for Mutual Encouragement and Loving Accountability